Social Capital, Electoral Behaviour and Government Performance in Italy: the Role of Culture and Family Origin.

Last registered on March 04, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

Social Capital, Electoral Behaviour and Government Performance in Italy: the Role of Culture and Family Origin.
Initial registration date
February 05, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 04, 2019, 10:26 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


Primary Investigator

University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
PI Affiliation
SOSE (Rome)
PI Affiliation
ETH Zurich
PI Affiliation
Università di Verona
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The project seeks to explore the role of cultural background in explaining the relationship between social capital and attitudes towards voting in local government. There is some evidence linking social capital, taxation attitudes and background but so far it has proved difficult to deal with causation or endogeneity problems in particular those related to culture. We solve this problem in a field setting in which we control for cultural background via a number of novel means.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bracco, Emanuele et al. 2019. "Social Capital, Electoral Behaviour and Government Performance in Italy: the Role of Culture and Family Origin. ." AEA RCT Registry. March 04.
Former Citation
Bracco, Emanuele et al. 2019. "Social Capital, Electoral Behaviour and Government Performance in Italy: the Role of Culture and Family Origin. ." AEA RCT Registry. March 04.
Experimental Details


Individuals are randomly selected from three large Italian cities known to differ both in terms of the performance of the local government and the cultural background of its citizens (including internal immigration - within Italy) and exposed to a set of questions designed to reveal the link between their cultural background, social capital and voting preferences.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
cooperation and trust, measures of social capital, measures of political knowledge and preferences, family background/culture
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
"cooperation and trust" measured by performance in games and answers to survey questions (based on the World Values Survey), "social capital" is based on a set of questions largely taken from the WVS, political knowledge and preferences are based on survey answers, family background/culture is based on answers to survey questions on family background, and answers to randomized questions linked to dialect and food preferences.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
IQ, personality, other demographics
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
IQ and personality are based on standard tests (Ravens and Big 5), the other demographics includes standard questions on gender, age, education, etc. primarily intended for use as controls in regressions.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
1500 individuals are asked to answer a series of questions about their voting preferences, complete a number of tasks (including trust games), personality and IQ tests and demographic questionnaires. We exploit a natural randomization relating to the background of their parents and grandparents to generate natural variation in their cultural identity which we use to group individuals into different treatment groups and to overcome endogeneity issues.
Experimental Design Details
1500 individuals are selected randomly, 500 in each of three large cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Turin).
These three cities differ in their likelihood of attracting people with different cultural backgrounds (parents and grandparents born in distant regions). We exploit the natural randomization of cultural identity across these cities to generate variation in the data. Rather than using a control we instead have a series of treatment groups for each region that we identify using cultural markers (such as language).
Each individual faces a series of tasks:
- Demographic questionnaires: relating to basic demographic information, employment deatils, political preferences and family background.
- Randomized questions relating to dialect (local language preferences) and food preferences.
- Games designed to measure trust, truthfulness and cooperation
- Big 5 Personality Test
- Ravens Progressive Matrices Test
- Questions about political knowledge and social capital measures.
Randomization Method
Done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1500 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 from Rome, 500 from Milan, 500 from Turin
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Warwick Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (HSSREC)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
HSS 64/18-19


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials